Terry Holdbrooks was deployed to Guantánamo Bay detention camp(GITMO) in June 2003 as a 19 year old American soldier. During his training, Holdbrooks was told: “The prisoners in Guantanamo are the worst of the worst. They are terrorists. They are not men, they are animals. They hate you. Do not feel any sympathy or compassion.”
Upon arriving in Guantanamo, Holdbrooks was fascinated by the high morale of the Muslim inmates. He observed the way they prayed to God in the most stressful times, the way they washed up for every prayer, the way they endured abuse and smiled despite being tortured severely and dehumanized.
When he asked the detainees why they were still hanging on to their faith even though they were probably in the worst situation, they responded, “It is only Allah testing our deen, testing our faith. We can endure this.”
Holdbrooks grew very curious about Islam and Muslims. He started seizing every opportunity to speak to the prisoners as they shifted from their cells to interrogation rooms or when bringing them food. On 29 December 2003, six months into his time at Guantánamo, Holdbrooks (Now, Mustafa Abdullah) finally embraced Islam and is currently an anti – Guantánamo activist.